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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



The New Zealand University Students' Association initiated a scheme of service abroad by volunteers when they sent graduates to Indonesia in 1959. Many wished to widen the scope for volunteer work abroad both by including further countries and by enabling other than graduates to volunteer. The upshot was that in March 1962 the Council for Volunteer Service Abroad, an independent body, was established following a meeting of representatives of nearly 30 organisations. The Council consists of widely representative members elected annually, and has (1965) Sir Edmund Hillary as president. Its purpose is to promote friendship and encourage mutual assistance among peoples by sending volunteer workers from New Zealand to countries which have need of them. Financial aid is given by private citizens and sponsoring organisations such as the Rotary, Lions, Jaycees, and Young Farmers' Clubs. Towns are also sponsoring volunteers. The Government has given the funds to set up and maintain an administrative headquarters in Wellington and meets the fares of volunteers. Teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, surveyors, agricultural workers, mechanics, administrators, accountants, and social workers, with others who, although without special training, are both practical and adaptable, are most suitable for this service. They work for two years abroad for local or national governments and are paid enough to maintain them at local standards of living, supplemented where necessary to enable them to obtain extra European food to ensure that their health does not suffer, and that their capacity for work is not affected. There are openings for school-leavers to do one year's service as teachers immediately after leaving secondary school.

To date, 51 volunteers have served in Asia and the Pacific Islands in the following places: India, Thailand, Continental Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Tonga, New Hebrides, British Solomon Islands, and Western Samoa.

by John Sidney Gully, M.A., DIP.N.Z.L.S., Assistant Chief Librarian, General Assembly Library, Wellington.


John Sidney Gully, M.A., DIP.N.Z.L.S., Assistant Chief Librarian, General Assembly Library, Wellington.